City budget process under new leadership | local government

Charlottesville’s budget is under new management, as the annual process of balancing expenses and revenues for the next fiscal year rests with the city council.

As the city moves forward with a new acting city manager from the Robert Bobb Group, LLC, the hired company and city staff will work together to tackle the fundraising plan.

“The budget process is essentially a never-ending cycle. We work on it year-round,” senior city budget analyst Krisy Hammill told the council during a day-long retreat Wednesday.

One of the issues facing the council in the budget is how to adjust tax rates and tax increases. The city is discussing the possibility of a 10-cent property tax rate increase to help pay for the city’s school reconfiguration project.

The proposal would add 10 cents in taxes on every $100 of assessed value. Currently, the tax rate is 95 cents for every $100.

Even without a rate increase, city property owners could face a tax hike of 10% or more.

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The city’s property revaluations were released on Thursday, with residential properties in the city increasing by an average of 11.69% in assessed value. If the city left the current tax rate alone, property owners could see their property taxes go up, said city assessor Jeff Davis.

The upcoming budget season will be led by consultant Michael C. Rogers who will serve as interim city manager and lead the budget when he takes office Jan. 31. Hammill and city staff have already been working on this for months.

The city manager is usually the person responsible for creating the budget and explaining it to the city council. The city hired a company, the Robert Bobb Group, LLC, in late December to fill executive and other high-level city staff vacancies.

The group is working with council to find a permanent city manager. The council has had a rocky relationship with managers, leading to the departure of five city managers, including interim appointees, since 2018.

The decision to hire a firm to take over as interim city manager came after former city manager Chip Boyles resigned in October and the city’s candidate for interim city manager, Marc Woolley, stepped down. is removed from the position prior to its start date.

Part of the city’s reasoning for hiring a company was specifically to have strong budget leadership in place.

The proposed budget must be completed on Valentine’s Day.

“Feb. The 14th is basically the magic date when we will have a balanced budget,” she said. projections and forecasts, all of that goes into the creation of the proposed document. And all of that is done between the city manager and the staff, and then presented to council.”

Hammill said city code requires the city manager to present the budget to council by March 15.

The city will hold its first budget working session on Wednesday in a joint meeting with the Charlottesville School Board to discuss the school system budget. The city council will hold its own budget working session on Thursday focusing on budget development.

Once the proposed budget is available, two additional working sessions will take place, one on March 10 and the other on St. Patrick’s Day. The budget will be presented to the community on March 23 and will hold two more working sessions. The budget must be approved by the board before April 15.

“Once the proposed budget is given to the city council, in February, we have to decide if there are any proposed tax changes. We are required to announce this at least 30 days before any public hearing,” Hammill said.